Edgartown Race Weekend will set sail in August

Beau Geste and Fling 16, shown here, sail in the IRC Division at Edgartown Race Weekend in 2019.” — Stephen R. Coultier

The Edgartown Yacht Club will host the 82nd  signature ’Round-the-Island (’RTI) race on August 1, in addition to the newer ’Round-the-Sound (’RTS) event the same day, according to a press release.

Even though the yacht club has canceled the buoy racing segment of its annual Edgartown Race Weekend, there is still an intense competition, and a great turnout to be had.

The ’RTI, which began in 1938 and counts as one of America’s oldest distance races, tracks 56 nautical miles around Martha’s Vineyard, while the ’RTS, inaugurated in 2018, gives sailors an alternative choice of sailing 20 nautical miles on a course around government marks in Vineyard and Nantucket Sounds.

All skippers’ meetings will happen on a digital platform, and sailors are highly encouraged to stay on their boats as much as possible. No overnight docking will be allowed at the clubhouse (this has potential to change), but provisions have been made for free moorings for competitors.

“To ensure the health and safety of sailors and the entire Martha’s Vineyard community, we have been working diligently to comply with the State of Massachusetts guidelines regarding COVID-19,” said race co-chair Alex Nugent in the release. “Because of the early-August scheduling of our event, we’ve had time to adapt our plans and prepare the competitors for what to expect. Despite necessary changes, registration numbers are robust, drawing teams from all over the East Coast who see Edgartown Race Weekend as the kickoff to the 2020 racing season.”

Skipper Camden Tougas of Marion and his crew of eight aboard the Kanga will compete in their fourth ’RTI this year, and have won their PHRF Spinnaker class twice before, in 2018 and 2019. 

“We’ll miss going ashore, but we’re packing some extra dinners. To be honest, I’m expecting the night before and after to be quiet, but racing will be some of the most competitive we’ve seen in a long time,” Tougas said in the release. “There’s a great turnout of boats, and with every other race cancelled and this one going on, everyone will want this.”